The iPad is a versatile multimedia device, capable of playing videos in high definition and displaying high-resolution photos on its 10-inch screen. There are times when you will want to share this content with other people and the iPad's screen won't be large enough. Using a variety of adapters, you can output certain content from your iPad to your HDTV. The iPad 2 also introduced Video Mirroring, so you can share your entire screen in high-definition. There are a few considerations to take into account before you decide on the best option for your multimedia setup.
First Generation iPad
The first generation iPad supports TV output through a variety of AV adapters, including VGA and component adapters. Only certain apps and file formats can be displayed on your TV from a first-generation iPad, including Photos, Videos and YouTube. Other third-party apps such as the Netflix app will also run simultaneously on an iPad and a TV. Unfortunately, you cannot simply mirror your first generation iPad display on your TV.
The iPad 2 includes functionality called "Video Mirroring" that displays your entire iPad display on a high-definition TV, regardless of the app you are using. This feature requires the Digital AV Adapter, an HDMI dock connector that is not compatible with the first generation iPad. Without this adapter, the iPad cannot output at resolutions high enough to support all HDTVs and projectors. Video Mirroring starts automatically when you connect the Digital AV Adapter to your iPad and HD display.
Adapters and Resolutions
The first-generation iPad supports the Apple VGA Adapter up to a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels, the resolution of the iPad screen. It also supports the Component AV Cable up to a resolution of 480p and the Composite AV Cable up to 480i. The iPad 2 supports all of these connections and resolutions, as well as the Digital AV Adapter up to a resolution of 1080p using an HDMI cable.
Although you can output high-definition video content from the iPad 2 to an HDTV, it will only display at a full 1080p resolution if you use the Apple Digital AV Adapter and an HDMI cable to connect the devices. This is a requirement of HDCP, or High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection. If you try to output high-definition video using one of the other AV adapters, it will output at a maximum resolution of 480p.